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|Mujib Ur Rahman||4.0||0||28||2||7.00|
The Delhi Daredevils and the Kings XI Punjab have been two of the consistently underperforming teams of the IPL over the last few years. Both teams, though, enter this year’s IPL with a lot of hope and enthusiasm. They have rebuilt their squad around some quality players and their fans can legitimately hope for some better results. Will the Delhi Daredevils team of explosive T20 batsmen be able to subdue the Kings XI Punjab team headlined by aging T20 superstars?
The Kings XI Punjab team retained only Axar Patel before the auction although they did manage to get back Marcus Stoinis, David Miller, and Mohit Sharma. The rest of their bidding seemed a little haphazard and they have ended up with what we believe to be a lopsided team.
Their four overseas players, at least initially, are likely to be Chris Gayle, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, and Andrew Tye. David Miller, the player who has won many a match for the Kings XI franchise will find it very difficult to break into the team unless the team decides to sit one of Stoinis or Tye out.
Stoinis has been one of the most improved all-rounders around the world and is now Australia’s first choice in the limited overs format. Andrew Tye has proven his T20 ability in leagues around the world including the IPL and could be a vital component of the death overs puzzle.
Leaving either of these two players out will be a huge mistake.
The Indian players likely to start the first match include KL Rahul, Karun Nair, and Yuvraj Singh as the batsmen. There is Mayank Aggarwal in the squad who has just had an amazing first class season but who will make way for him at the top of the order is unclear.
That leaves Axar Patel, R Ashwin and, Mohit Sharma as the bowlers. Maybe the last remaining spot could go to Aggarwal if Stoinis is able to provide four bowlers in every game.
The batting looks pretty good for the Kings XI Punjab. They must hope that players like Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, and Ashwin are able to have a good outing. Ashwin, who is going to be the spinner, has promised plenty of surprises and we think his captaincy will certainly be interesting to follow.
Whether he ends up outsmarting himself at times remains to be seen but he is definitely going to leave everything on the ground.
The bowling is very dependent on Andrew Tye. The other players have a tendency to be expensive and Ashwin himself is not the threat he once was. We think the Kings XI Punjab team will need to score plenty of runs in each match to compensate for its less than stellar bowling.
Mayank Agarwal, Lokesh Rahul, Karun Nair, Y Singh, Marcus Stoinis, David Miller, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, AJ Tye, Mujib Ur Rahman.
The Delhi Daredevils team is one that we believe will be among the most exciting to watch. A sound bidding strategy has left them with a well-balanced team that features some ferocious hitters, competent spinners, and one of the best fast bowling attacks in the tournament.
The fact that Delhi Daredevils were able to get Gautam Gambhir as captain and Ricky Ponting as coach is also a big plus.
We think Delhi is likely to start with Colin Munro and Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order followed by Maxwell, Iyer, Pant, and Morris. This is a top-6 that can all go from the word go. Gautam Gambhir is no slouch himself but may find himself being the person to bat through the innings.
This is a batting order that can be explosive throughout the inning or come undone pretty spectacularly. Vijay Shankar at 7 is perhaps the only weak link seeing as he was unable to provide consistent big hits in his first international series but we would give him some more time before writing him off completely.
The bowling is also very good thanks to the presence of Mohammad Shami, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, and maybe Trent Boult or Kagiso Rabada. Our preference would be the big South African but Boult has been in terrific form off late as well.
The Delhi Daredevils squad allows them to compete in all conditions. Their batsmen will fancy starting off against the relatively weak Kings XI side while the Delhi daredevil bowlers could give the Kings XI batsmen plenty to think about as well.
The one contest that we are really looking forward to is the one between Glenn Maxwell and Ravi Ashwin. Both of them tend to go hard at each other and there seems to be some personal pride at stake. Ashwin may be the new captain of the Kings XI team but it was not too long ago that Glenn Maxwell was the adopted son of the city.
The one weakness that we find in this Delhi Daredevils side is the lack of an established Indian batsman from the current Indian team. Munro and Maxwell have had plenty of success in India previously but they are players that can go cold pretty quickly.
The Delhi Daredevils are a very dangerous team on paper but definitely one that can implode under pressure.
G Gambhir, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, RR Pant, Chris Morris, V Shankar, DT Christian, R Tewatia, Amit Mishra, TA Boult, Mohammed Shami.
The team winning the toss is likely to want to bowl first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
Humidity is expected to around the 50% mark but there is no chance of rain currently predicted. This means that dew is likely to be a factor in the match. The small boundaries of the Mohali stadium also leave us in no doubt that chasing is the way to go at this ground.
The scores have tended to be pretty large when the pitch is fresh. The ball comes on to the bat well and there is some decent bounce on offer. We think a six-hitting fest may be on offer early on in this tournament.
The Delhi Daredevils may have had a tough time in the IPL but they still managed to beat the Kings XI in three out of their last five encounters. The overall record, though, stands in favor of the Kings XI Punjab at 11-9 after 20 matches.
We think the Delhi Daredevils are set to start off with a win in this tournament, though.
Back the Delhi Daredevils to win.
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